Mix’pert: An expert guide to Halifax Pop Explosion with Trevor Murphy

Halifax Pop Explosion is just around the corner, taking place across the city from October 22-26. While there are lots of great concerts, the 8th Pop! Talks conference this year features talks from music industry veterans. For the first time, HPX wristbands and passes give access to the conference.

Leading up to the festival, Mixtape talked to a handful of speakers to see which bands are on their “must-see” list. Our first Mix’pert, Trevor Murphy, is host of radio show Halifax is Burning, leader of folk band Quiet Parade and has a MA Theology & Religious Studies. Murphy is giving a talk on Marilyn Manson and how Manson “uses the character of the Antichrist Superstar on this record as a vehicle for social prophecy.” This takes place at the Citadel/Cunard Room at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, October 25. Quiet Parade plays on Wednesday October 23 @ The Carleton w. Dark for Dark and Leif Vollebekk.


This band caught my attention initially because their named used to be Topanga and I’m an unabashed, heart-on-my-sleeve Boy Meets World fan. They’ve since changed their name to Pup and released their debut album which is full of rip-roaring, high energy riffs that straddle the border between pop and math rock. Get to the Marquee early and check them out before they blow up. They’re my pick for the band that will come back to HPX in a couple years as a headliner. Which brings me to pick 2…

See Pup play on Thursday, October 24 @ The Marquee w. Fucked Up, Cousins & The Moutbreathers. 9:30pm


I first saw Metz at HPX in 2008 when they opened for Young Widows at Gus’ Pub and they blew my mind wide open. Finally, nearly four years later, the band has released their long-awaited debut on SubPop Records. No surprise, the record is a post-punk infused, blistering and deafening sonic assault. Metz is one of my favorite bands in Canada right now. They play twice at HPX and I plan to be there both times.

See Metz play on Friday, October 24 @ Reflections w. Kuato, Solids & a Secret Guest or Saturday, October 25 @ Olympic Hall w. Japandroids, The Motorleague & Like A Motorcycle

Rah Rah

Whenever this Saskatchewan-based band announces a tour, I click on the link with bated breath hoping they’ll come to Halifax. Their latest album, The Poet’s Dead, is on constant repeat in my house. Catchy, honest, to-the-point songs and a wonderfully fun band live. I can’t wait to see them again.

See Rah Rah play on Thursday, October 24 @ Michael’s Bar & Grill w. Dusted, Heavy Meadows & The Space Age

Force Fields

I know most people who talk about this show will be talking about The Plan, and don’t get me wrong – I’m just as excited as the next person to see the seminal Haligonian math-rockers. But Force Fields are one of the best bands in the Maritimes right now and they rarely play shows. It’s a goddamn treat to be able to see them and that is only enhanced by the fact that they’ll be opening for The Plan. An amazing show on a Wednesday night. Don’t miss it.

See Force Fields play on Wednesday, October 24 @ Michael’s Bar & Grill w. The Plan, Castle Wolfenstein & Old Man


A Yarmouth-native myself, I have been following the musical career of Dusted’s Brian Borcherdt since I was a teenager. From Burnt Black to Trephines to The Remains of Brian Borcherdt to Holy Fuck (shout-outs to anyone who also remembers Hot Carl!), I’m always excited to hear Brian’s projects and even more excited to see them come to life on stage. The album, Total Dust, is a bit subdued – in true Borcherdt form – but the live show is not. Coupled with drummer/multi-instrumentalist Leon Taheny (Final Fantasy, Rituals, etc), the duo is crunchy, exciting and powerful. You have got two chances to see Dusted at HPX. I recommend taking both.

See Dusted play on Thursday, October 24 @ Michael’s Bar & Grill w. Rah Rah, Heavy Meadows & The Space Age or Friday, October 25 @ Olympic Hall w. The Walkmen, Suuns & Nap Eyes

Words by: Trevor Murphy – Halifax Is Burning
Photo by: Jonathan Briggins

Halifax Is Burning airs live on CKDU 88.1FM in Halifax, NS on Tuesday nights from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Download podcasted episodes at www.halifaxisburning.com